Noragami Aragoto is the second season of the Noragami series. It follows the continued story of Yato the minor god and his adventures with Yukine, his regalia, and Hiyori, his one and only mortal believer. Life for Yato continues to get more complicated as his past dealings with Bishamon, a god of war, continue to haunt him while dark forces lurking in the shadows gather power and strength.
Protonstorm has written a wonderful AniTAY review for Noragami Aragoto. This is not a formal review, but rather a more intimate look at what my wife and I found enjoyable or otherwise, collaboratively written from both our viewpoints. Neither of us had watched this anime prior to us watching it together.
We Liked: It’s More Noragami, and It’s Better Than Ever
Did you like Noragami? Were you hoping for more of that great show? If so, why are you reading this? Stop reading now, and go watch Noragami Aragoto. It’s more of what you want, and is even better than Noragami. The main plot and storytelling is deeper, more nuanced, and as compelling as ever. The animation is beautiful and fluid. The fight scenes are exciting and varied. The soundtrack perfectly complements the visuals. Everything you could want in a continuation of Noragami is here and then some. If you enjoyed Noragami, you will enjoy Noragami Aragoto. If you haven’t seen Noragami, watch it so you can then watch Noragami Aragoto as well… you won’t be disappointed.
He Liked: The Drama is Earned
In the Watched with my Wife article for Noragami, I mentioned that I didn’t like the teen angst that I felt was present and received pushback in the comments. I still feel that the on-screen drama that I was referring to didn’t feel deserved and thus felt overwrought to me. However, I’m happy to report that with the series moving forwards, every dramatic story beat feels earned. Because Noragami Aragoto doesn’t have to establish the characters but rather has the opportunity to deepen their stories and motivations… their decisions have weight to them and their conflicts feel more real and personal to the viewer. For myself, it also helped that the focus of the story moves off Yukine (Yato’s regalia with whom I never felt a strong emotional connection) to focus on Yato and his relationship with other deities. For whatever reason, these conflicts feel more realized and adult than the somewhat ‘woe is me’ plot of Noragami’s last arc. This was a welcome improvement in my eyes, and the thrust of the main plot kept me hooked throughout.
She Liked: Character Development
I really enjoyed seeing our characters show different sides of their personalities. We find out that Yato’s dream of having a shrine was once crushed by his father during his childhood. When Hiyori crafts her own little shrine for Yato, we find out just how important that moment is to him. Yato cries with joy, then we look back into his childhood and are given a glimmer of insight to his relationship with his father.
We learn that Yato’s past with his father plays a role in the God that he is today. In addition, I loved seeing Yukine transform into an empowered, strong blessed vessel. He begins to take his role as Yato’s regalia very seriously and seeks mentorship from Kazuma. Yukine enhances his powers and strengthens his moral compass. His loyalty to Yato is inspiring. So great to watch! :)
We Disliked: Moar Please!
Noragami Aragoto is the continued adaptation of a serialized manga series. As such, Noragami Aragoto falls into the trap of adaptation: it doesn’t feel complete. The final arc feels like a prelude to major events that will never see resolution without another season. Additionally, the after credits stinger of the final episode is so crazy and unexpected that my wife jumped off the couch and yelled, “No way!”. She thought there were more episodes coming and was thoroughly disappointed that we were at the current end of the series.
Controversially, I will say I preferred the anime original ending of Noragami to the half-hearted resolution of Noragami Aragoto. As a couple that does not read manga, when Noragami ended we felt we had experienced a complete story. We wanted more of course, but we wouldn’t have been crushed if Noragami didn’t get picked up for a second season. With the end of Noragami Aragoto, we are still on the edge of our seats and sorely want a third season. While we are left wanting more, if the no third season materializes Noragami Aragoto will forever feel incomplete.
He Disliked: Walking It Back
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS, SKIP TO ‘SHE DISLIKED’
Early on in Noragami Aragoto, Yukine becomes friends with Suzuha, a regalia of Bishamon. Because Yato and Bishamon are rivals, the existence of this friendship causes tension. Then, Suzuha is murdered, which puts Yato into direct confrontation with Bishamon. Note how Suzuha is used within the plot structure: He is introduced, given a role in the main characters’ lives, dies, and then the main characters deal with the fallout of his death. I originally thought Suzaha’s death was an important turning point in the overall narrative of Noragami and Noragami Aragoto. It demonstrated that there are possible dire consequences in the dangerous world inhabited by these characters. Then, Noragami Aragoto stops following this formula.
I am going to list the characters that die or seem to die only to return: Yukine, Kazuma, Nora, Ebisu, and most of Bishamon’s regalia who have a character name known to the viewers. Sometimes a character’s death would be part of an end-of-episode cliffhanger, compelling me to queue up the next. But, invariably, that character would somehow miraculously survive or be returned to the story using an in-series lore loophole. I can understand using the narrative tool of character death to heighten tension, but Noragami Aragoto abuses this trick to the point of making a character’s death feel trivial. Eventually, I felt like none of the characters were in any real danger, because if they died they would somehow return in the next scene. I’m not looking for a Game of Thrones style slaughter-fest, but if a viewer stops fearing death it undercuts the dramatic tension of putting characters in situations where they can die.
She Disliked: It’s Over?
The only thing I didn’t like is that we are unsure as to the status of this series being renewed. This anime is so fun to watch and always keep me guessing. Two thumbs up!
Because this is not an official Ani-TAY review, we have eschewed the normal review card.
With the release of Noragami Aragoto I can confidently say that Noragami is the rare series I would recommend to anybody, regardless of whether or not they watch anime. At its heart, Noragami and Noragami Aragoto tell a compelling story using universal themes in a beautifully realized world. With its consistent blend of action, drama, comedy and light romance it is the perfect show to share with your significant other. Every facet of the series is expertly crafted with care and attention to detail. Don’t let my wife and I’s picking around the edges turn you off to a wonderful series that you are bound to enjoy.
Noragami Aragoto can be watched on Hulu and Funimation streaming service. Noragami is based on a manga series by Adachitoka that began serialization in Kodansha’s Monthly Shōnen Magazine. The series was adapted to anime by Bones and is licensed for regional release in North America by Funimation Entertainment.
Interested in watching anime with your significant other? My wife and I have written a guide based off our experience watching anime together that offers some tips.
Note: With the return of American broadcast televisions fall line-up, my wife and I have been watching anime together less frequently. Expect fewer ‘Watched with my Wife’ articles for some time.